Betta Fish Forum banner

1 - 20 of 25 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
112 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello all, this is my first post on this site. I must say, I'm happy to have found these forums. I recently purchased a 5.5 gallon tank, and have added water, gravel, decor, a Marimo moss ball, and treated the (tap) water with the recommended dosage of the Tetra Aquasafe conditioner and a Tank Buddies Correct pH tablet. So far the parameters I know are pH of 6.8, 0 ammonia or nitrite, temp 80F, 15w incandescent light 8hrs/day, and 7.5 watt (a little undersized?) heater coming in the mail for night time.

I'd like to properly cycle this tank, and I've had a hard time finding aqueous ammonia that does not contain surfactants. I have Jungle Start Zyme and was wondering if using that is a safe alternative to the lengthy ammonia drip tank cycling method. If I use that is it a good idea to feed it 3-4 betta pellets 2x daily? Also should the filter be on and if so, should media and carbon be in the filter?

Thanks,

John

P.S. If you couldn't tell, I'm new to this. I just want to make sure everything gets done right so the aquarium doesn't fail.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,597 Posts
Welcome. 1st congrats on the tank. As for the ph, it is better to NOT try to adjust it as the fish will adjust to your taps ph, 6.8 is a little on the low side & if goes lower it will effect your tanks cycle. I would suggest testing your tap water to see what all the levels are; ammonia, nitrites, nitrates, ph so you know where you're starting. As for the Jungle Start, you will still need an ammonia source as the ammonia is what feeds the BB. If you cannot find pure ammonia you can take a raw shrimp put it into a mesh bag & place it into the tank, when your ammonia reaches the appropriate level, remove the bag, stick it in a baggie & freeze it, then you can re-use it if need be. You can also use food but it is more difficult to get the level of ammonia you will need. Lastly you could choose to do a fish IN cycle, you will just need to test your water daily with a liquid test kit & do water changes per the results. Keep in mind it can take 6-8 wks to cycle a tank.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
112 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks so much for the reply! That shrimp idea seems great. Do you know approximately how long it should take to reach the proper ammonia level (i.e. can I leave it in while I'm at work for 9 hours?). Also, what would the proper ammonia level be to prep the bacteria colonies for a single male crowntail in this 5.5 gal tank?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
112 Posts
Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thanks so much for the reply! That shrimp idea seems great. Do you know approximately how long it should take to reach the proper ammonia level (i.e. can I leave it in while I'm at work for 9 hours?). Also, what would the proper ammonia level be to prep the bacteria colonies for a single male crowntail in this 5.5 gal tank?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,597 Posts
The ammonia level doesn't have anything to with what your final stocking plan is for the tank. I have only done fish IN cycling, my reading regarding fish LESS is you want the ammonia to reach 4 ppm, then let it drop to 1, redose to 4, when the tank is processing the ammonia down to 0 within 24 hrs, your nitrItes stay 0 & nitrAtes are <40 for about a few days then you are cycled. If you go the shrimp route, it will rot which means its going to get stinky & mushy (reason for the mesh bag). I would put it in wait a day or two test the ammonia, if its where you want it to be take it out. Test the water to see if & when its dropping when it gets down to one add the shrimp back & just repeat until the tank is cycled.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
112 Posts
Discussion Starter · #6 ·
The ammonia level doesn't have anything to with what your final stocking plan is for the tank. I have only done fish IN cycling, my reading regarding fish LESS is you want the ammonia to reach 4 ppm, then let it drop to 1, redose to 4, when the tank is processing the ammonia down to 0 within 24 hrs, your nitrItes stay 0 & nitrAtes are <40 for about a few days then you are cycled. If you go the shrimp route, it will rot which means its going to get stinky & mushy (reason for the mesh bag). I would put it in wait a day or two test the ammonia, if its where you want it to be take it out. Test the water to see if & when its dropping when it gets down to one add the shrimp back & just repeat until the tank is cycled.
Thanks a bunch, this really helps!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
112 Posts
Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Does it matter if the frozen shrimp I buy has already been cooked? I sent my girlfriend out for "raw frozen shrimp - only ingredient on label should be shrimp" and she came back with Cooked Frozen Shrimp which contains: shrimp, salt, water, and sodium tripolyphosphate 'to retain moisture' (the one ingredient I'm afraid of). So much for her listening, but should I be worried that it is cooked and contains sodium tripolyphosphate? It's already in the aquarium (thank God there's no fish involved in this experiment), so let me know if I should take it out/start over.

Thanks in advance!!
 

·
Reference Team
Joined
·
7,702 Posts
In about a week, you will smell why many of us prefer to use pure ammonia for fishless cycling. I know; I've done it. There are other reasons not to use rotting foods for an ammonia source...mold, bacteria, other unsavory things.

A single Betta in a 5g will require two 50% changes a week anyway. So you can make it easy on yourself by doing a fish-in cycle.

The StartZyne product is made to promote fish-in cycling by moderating any ammonia to nitrite spike.

The most important thing you need is a liquid test kit to monitor your ammonia and nitrite levels. (API freshwater test kit from Amazon for $20).

Yes, you have to run your filter with filter foam/media/pads whatever. That's where the majority of the bacteria will live.

The most important thing you need to do is read the sickies in the Bowl and Habitat section of this forum...especially this one:
http://www.tropicalfishkeeping.com/...ssories/nitrogen-cycle-betta-specific-107771/

Read the others for background and for a better understanding of what it is you're trying to do.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
112 Posts
Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Thanks for the additional info. I started the nitrogen cycle well; achieved 4ppm NH3/NH4+ with three raw shrimp in the tank overnight (using API Master Test Kit). I'll be checking ammonia and nitrites tonight to monitor the process and have been recording my data. pH has swung a bit to the high end from the earlier 6.4 and has been stable at 7.4 for about a day now. Normal for this stage of the cycle? Is there anywhere I can find the typical timeline (in days/weeks) for this process? I'm sure there's a sticky somewhere, no?

Thanks again.
 

·
Reference Team
Joined
·
7,702 Posts
The timeline varies from less than two weeks (using live nitrifying bacteria to seed the filter) to over two months waiting for the bacteria to fall out of the sky. The ammonia dosage has less to do with the time it takes than these two factors.

Using StressZyne may (or may not) speed this up.

However, there are a few things you can do to save some time once you get bacteria in your tank (in order of importance):

---aerate/oxygenate as much as possible
---run your filter full blast
---keep temperatures >85*
---keep it dark

You should not mess with your pH. But it is good for the cycle that it went up to the mid-7's.

Do not change water or clean your filter or substrate until the cycle is complete, as indicated by the ability of the tank to consume 2.0ppm ammonia within 24 hours for two consecutive days accompanied by a rise in nitrate.

If necessary, change 50% of water IF the nitrite rises >5.0ppm or the nitrate >40ppm.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
112 Posts
Discussion Starter · #13 ·
So, let's beat this dead horse once more:

5.5gal tank.
Day 12 of fishless cycle, initial ammonia dose by rotting raw shrimp.
Finally found ACE 10% Janitorial Ammonia

Current Params
Ammonia: 1ppm
Nitrite: 5ish ppm
Nitrate: 40-80ppm range
Going to re-up the ammonia in my cycle.

Correct me if I am wrong, please.

5.5gal tank =~ 20Liters
1ppm = 1mg/L so 20L requires 20mg to raise concentration by 1ppm
10% solution of Ammonia contains 100g/L of Ammonia or 100mg/mL
Approx. 20 drops per mL so 20mg will require .2mL or 4 drops of 10% Ammonia solution to raise concentration by 1ppm in a 5.5gal tank.

To turn this into drops per gallon: 4drops/5.5gal =~ .7 drops/gal per ppm with 10% concentration.

Does all of this sound right?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
330 Posts
Thank you for doing a fishless cycle! It's the humane way to cycle the tank if you don't have any bacteria to seed with.
 

·
Reference Team
Joined
·
7,702 Posts
Finally found ACE 10% Janitorial Ammonia
Good. Of course, the irony is: once this tank is cycled, you'll never need it again. It's still better than courting saprolegnia mold by using shrimp.

Current Params
Ammonia: 1ppm
Nitrite: 5ish ppm
Nitrate: 40-80ppm range
Going to re-up the ammonia in my cycle.
Change >50% of your water to bring the nitrite <0.5ppm and the nitrate <40ppm...Keep it there. Ammonia ~4.0ppm


Does all of this sound right?
Your math is right, as far as it goes. But due to variabilities in the product and among brands, and its age, you're better off testing a few drops in a gallon of sourcewater and seeing what you really have.

Good call, Wendyjo.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
112 Posts
Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Performed approx 50% water change. After change, levels were: Ammonia .25 ppm, Nitrite 2 ppm (I'll keep an eye on this), and Nitrate 10 ppm. Also, calculations were correct. From .25 ppm, 12 drops of Ammonia raised levels to between 2 and 4 ppm.

Hopefully the left over ammonia will help clean up around the house. :)

And I agree, nothing should have to swim in its own (unprocessed) toxic waste. Plus, it's quite a fun little science project to pass time between my two terms of classes.

I have a ghost shrimp in a bowl (frequent water changes) with a lilly bulb (getting cleaned by him), so he is keeping me company until the tank is ready for my Betta. He's going to be a black orchid crowntail with golden yellow and black tail.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
112 Posts
Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Hallyx and/or other(s),

Will high nitrites (2-5+ ppm) stall that part of the cycle? What is the school of thought behind a water change at this point - nitrite, or nitrates being high? I have done a large water change and am just asking with the intention to learn, not trying to be snide if it is coming of that way. - Intonation is very difficult to portray with words. :)
 

·
Reference Team
Joined
·
7,702 Posts
Hallyx and/or other(s),

Will high nitrites (2-5+ ppm) stall that part of the cycle? What is the school of thought behind a water change at this point - nitrite, or nitrates being high? I have done a large water change and am just asking with the intention to learn, not trying to be snide if it is coming of that way. - Intonation is very difficult to portray with words. :)
High ammonia (>6.0pm), high nitrite (>5.0ppm) or high nitrate (>40ppm) can each stall or stop the nitrogen cycle.

I highly recommend this article by Byron Hosking, one of the most knowledgeable keepers on this forum:
http://www.tropicalfishkeeping.com/freshwater-articles/bacteria-freshwater-aquarium-74891/

What's nice is I know you'll understand it. ;-}
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
112 Posts
Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Thanks, that was a great read! Looks like it's time to go do another PWC since the color on my Nitrite liquid test is either 2ppm or screaming at me that it is off the chart, and I'm leaning toward the latter (I always have my girlfriend match the colors, since women tend to have a keener eye in that regard). Does anyone have photos of what the liquid tests look like at certain measurements? I really have trouble matching my Nitrite tests with the swatch.
 
1 - 20 of 25 Posts
Top